'Tis the Season to Be Blotto (Not Bloated) With This Toasted White Cranberry Cocktail

I believe the holidays are the time to indulge, to throw off the straitjacket of nutritional paranoia, and give yourself a break from eating quinoa, goji berries, and kale. Christmas comes but once a year, and if you take decent care of yourself the other 11 months, it's okay to take a break from counting calories and eating seven-plus servings of vegetables a day.

However, as I've grown older and my metabolism has slowed, I realize that holiday indulgence doesn't mean using every eating and drinking opportunity to binge on the richest, heaviest options. Recovering in January goes a lot better if you punctuate your holiday consumption patterns with the occasional low-fat or "skinny" versions of festive food and drink.

To that end, I am always on the lookout for decent lower calories cocktails. Actually, decent "skinny" mixed drinks are not terribly hard to buy or make at home. What's harder to find is creative cocktails that boast intense flavors, no artificial aftertaste, and come in at under 200 calories. Enter EFFEN Vodka's Toast White Cranberry.

EFFEN Vodka's Toasted White Cranberry

  • 1½ ounces EFFEN® salted caramel vodka
  • 1¾ ounces white cranberry juice
  • ¼ ounce lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce zero or low-calorie simple syrup (try South Beach)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into rocks glass over ice. Garnish with toasted coconut flakes.

This cocktail comes in at around 120 calories if you follow the directions.

Since I enjoyed the EFFEN salted caramel so much, however, I started experimenting with some not-so-low calories mixers, such as Blenheim's Ginger Ale, whose terrific bite was well matched by the spirit's savory sweetness. I also started eating the leftover toasted coconut by hand. Then, I threw it on top of a frosted sugar cookie I happened to have lying around and ate that.

Oh well. At least the first drink was somewhat healthful.

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